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blood donor recruiting

Calling donors in order to get the donation type that is most in need can be done simply if you have the right resources. Your database should be segmented by each donor’s blood type, last three donation types, and gender. If you have the luxury of scripting software and an automatic dialer, the scripter should be able to utilize this data to prompt the dialer to call only qualified donors and to serve an appropriate script to your tele-recruiters.

The logic involved in choosing the donation type may go something like this, depending on current inventory needs:

  • Donors with no previous history of donating either Double Red Cells or Platelets: O-, O+, B-, B+: Recruit for double red cells
    • AB-, AB+, A-: Refer to gender
      • Male: Recruit for platelets
      • Female: Recruit for whole blood
    • A+ or unknown: Recruit for whole blood
  • One of the last three most recent donations was a Double Red Cell donation:
    • AB-, AB+, A-: Refer to gender
      • Male: Recruit for platelets
      • Female: Recruit for double red cells
    • All other blood types: Recruit for double red cells
  • One of the last three most recent donations was a Platelet donation type:
    • O-, O+, B-, B+: Recruit for double red cells
    • All other blood types: Recruit for platelets

Platelet donations take priority over Double Red Cells and Whole Blood except for “O” donors, where Double Red Cells take precedence.

How do you ensure that you’re calling the right donors?

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Howie Mandel said, “People who annoy people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Woody Hayes said, “Paralyze resistance with persistence.”

Howie knows comedy and Woody knows football, but they wouldn’t have done so well in tele-recruiting. Persistence is delicate. With too much persistence, you annoy donors and prompt them to request removal from your database. With too little persistence, your donors fail to donate. In either case donations drop, hospitals have less blood available, and fewer lives are saved.

So, how often should you contact a donor? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Your contact center will need to modify best practices based upon trial and error.

The following guidelines, however, can inform your strategy as you optimize it:

  • Dial a household no more than once every 3 days.
  • If a donor does not want to schedule, or is currently unable to donate, wait at least 21 days before you call again unless a medical condition or recent travel dictates shorter or longer wait times.
  • If a donor cannot donate for at least a month (e.g., is pregnant, away at college, or out of town for an extended time), adjust the callback dates in your database to reflect this.

Once you have established contact frequency rules, ensure that your tele-recruiters adhere to them strictly. Doing so can reduce your blood center’s opt-out rate by as much as 36%, increase the longevity of your call files, and save more lives.

In what other ways do you determine optimal contact frequency?

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Not all blood donor conversations begin as outbound calls. Donors may call your center to schedule new appointments, reschedule existing appointments, check eligibility, ask questions about donating, or ask for directions to donation sites.

Tele-recruiters should always follow the rules of engagement discussed in previous blog posts, but the unplanned nature of these conversations means that a less rigid script will be available. An inbound donor needs someone who is helpful, friendly, knowledgeable, and able to help with the least amount of delay.

Because of this, inbound conversations should be routed to experienced tele-recruiters who are well-trained in every area. Have someone like this available at all times to ensure that inbound calls are answered quickly. Never allow an inbound call to go to voice mail during business hours, review messages at the start of each business day, and reach out to donors who have left messages promptly.

How do you handle inbound donor conversations?

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Here at Incept, we focus on making quality calls.

Making quality calls gives the  Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) a better chance at getting blood donors to make their scheduled appointments to donate blood. Why is that? Well, when calling an individual to donate blood you want to make sure to show compassion, empathy, appreciation, and understanding, all while being polite and pleasant. By having communication skills and showing all of these aspects in a donor recruitment call, a CME is able to strengthen the relationship with a blood donor so that they continue to donate blood on a regular basis. This is what makes a quality call. When you do not use these aspects in donor recruitment calls, donors will not feel as important as they should.

When we are making calls, we don’t want to give the impression that the only thing we are interested in is getting an appointment. Instead, we want to make sure that we are listening to the donor 100% ,as well as acknowledging the donor whenever they make a statement, ask a question, or give an objection. It is also important to go the extra mile to make donors feel appreciated for taking their valuable time to help their communities with blood donations.

In addition, using voice inflection is a very important part of the phone call. This is what helps to grab the donor’s attention and keep them engaged on the phone. If you use a monotone during the phone call and don’t show any excitement, there’s a better chance of the donor getting restless and hanging up. Remember, as a CME, our voice is the only avenue of communication we have to use while making calls, so we want to make the best of it. The speed that you’re talking to the donor is also very important. We want to read at a pace that the donor understands clearly. Not only that, but we only have a couple of seconds to make a good impression to grab the donor’s attention. Quality calls show better results, and this is why quality is so essential here at Incept!

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Established business rules will determine whether or not you should leave a message when recruiting blood donors.

Some organizations may use automated voicemail. If yours does not, keep your message brief and to-the-point. Inform the blood donor about why you are calling, give brief details about any current promotions, and provide a callback number where he or she can self-schedule.

Your marketing strategy will dictate whether you choose to incorporate broadcast voicemail.

Broadcast messages are very low-cost, but also yield very low results, so use them smart and sparingly. They tend to be most effective for supplementing other reminders, alerting donors to location changes, or notifying donors about cancelled drives.

Voice messages should be brief and to-the-point. Inform the donor about why you are calling, give brief details about current promotions, and leave a callback number. Tele-recruiters must use great diction and inflection and must sound personable. Otherwise, it’s better to skip the message and attempt to reach the donor live another time. A poorly delivered message will do more harm than good.

What are your best practices for reaching unresponsive donors?

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What do you do with donors who simply do not answer the phone? Even though you contact them during what is typically the optimum time of day, some donors will not respond to phone calls.

In any 60-day period, if there have been 10 or more unsuccessful attempts to reach a donor, leave a brief, informative message.

Your organization may also consider leaving a pre-recorded message for unresponsive donors. The automated message should sound like a message from a live person. Using this option can shave 20-30 seconds off of each unanswered call.

How do you determine whether of not to leave a message?

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As Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs), we’re always anticipating a conversation to end with an appointment to help save lives! Sometimes, however, other conversations may not end with an appointment, but as CMEs we want to end every conversation on a positive note regardless of the situation.

Ending each phone call positively sets the tone for the next interaction with the donor so that they want to continue donating in the future with the blood center. There are two ways to close a blood donor recruitment conversation:

Closing Calls That End With An Appointment

When closing a call that ends with an appointment you want to make sure to confirm every aspect of the scheduled appointment, including the date, time, location, the type of the donation, the donor’s email (to send a confirmation), and the address of the appointment. Let the donor know once again how much you appreciate their life saving donation.

Make sure the donor knows everything necessary to ensure a successful donation before their appointment, like eating a good meal, drinking plenty of fluids, and bringing a photo ID. Remember to offer SMS reminders if the program allows you to; this helps increase the chances of the donor making it to the appointment. Lastly, provide a number to call with any questions before the appointment or if the donor needs to reschedule for a different time.

Calls That Do Not End In Appointments

Donors who don’t schedule appointments should still be aware that they are appreciated for their previous donations. We still want to make the donor feel important by mentioning how much of an impact they have made with their previous blood donations. We want to let them know they may have saved up to three lives with each of their previous blood donations, and we would love for them to continue to save lives when they are able to donate blood again.

Show empathy, They may be ill, going through a difficult time, or simply having a bad day. This helps strengthen the relationship with the donor to where they continue to donate blood with the blood center whenever they are able to donate blood again. Ask for an email or verify the one listed in the donor’s profile; that way we can continue to notify the donor of future blood drives. Provide the schedule number so when the donor has availability and is able to donate they can give us a call to help find the most convenient location and date for them.

All in all, whether you end with an appointment or don’t end with an appointment you want to still end the conversation on a positive note to strengthen the relationship with the donor. Remember the last impression you make on a call is the last memory the donor has of the call. So smile, and be as polite as possible; your voice is the only avenue of communication. Make the best of it!

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Change Your Language

Begin thinking of what your tele-recruiters do as ”having conversations” rather than “making calls.” A call is of good quality if it’s dialed correctly. A conversation is of good quality if it engages another person and both parties learn something of value. Such conversations build strong relationships, in this case between your blood center and the donor. That’s what you’re really after.

Define Quality Standards

Measuring a conversation’s quality requires dissecting it. Standards must be objective and inviolable. Let us know if you’d like a copy of our Conversational Quality Scorecard to see how a typical donor conversation may be broken down to clearly show which specific parts of the conversation meet your quality guidelines and which specific parts need improvement to meet your quality standards.

Connect Quality Standards to Employment Policies

Quality Standards must be thoroughly integrated into your employment policies for them to have any real effect on tele-recruitment conversations and donor relationships. Promotions, pay-per-performance programs, corrective action, and similar policies must be explicitly connected to objective measures of quality.

Appoint a dedicated Conversational Quality Manager

It’s imperative that a dedicated, unbiased individual or department is responsible for monitoring tele-recruiters’ adherence to your conversational quality standards. To avoid conflicts of interest, this Conversational Quality Manager should report to a department that is not incentivized for the contact center’s results. Furthermore, whoever provides oversight of the Conversational Quality Manager should set continual improvement goals for the quality management function itself.

Separating out this function in this way has numerous benefits:

  • Bias will be eliminated
  • The quality measurement process will not become lax or soft
  • The quality measurement function won’t get triaged to other priorities

Audit Tele-recruiting Conversations

The Conversational Quality Manager’s role is to audit all tele-recruiters’ conversations on a continual basis. Avoid the temptation to only use this function to check up on tele-recruiters you suspect are slacking in their duties. Quality audits are not disciplinary tools. They are tools for continuous improvement.

Even your star tele-recruiters can incrementally improve. Even your greatest tele-recruiter needs to be held accountable for maintaining that greatness. When approached well, good tele-recruiters should look forward to seeing their quality scores and learning if and where they can improve.

Grade Tele-recruiting Conversations

As the Conversational Quality Manager listens to calls, he or she will assign point values to all items on the Conversational Quality Checklist and grade each tele-recruiter according to those criteria. We recommend grading quality performance on a 100-point scale. Nearly everyone is familiar with this format, and it provides the right amount of granularity.

The scored results from this ongoing quality audit can then be used to correct, reward and develop tele-recruiters and strengthen donor relationships in the process.

Generate a Personalized Conversational Quality Audit Report for Each Tele-recruiter

At least every two weeks, the Conversational Quality Manager creates and prints a quality audit report for each tele-recruiter. The report assigns an overall and specific performance score. It also provides narrative descriptions of performance indicators for those two weeks.

Distribute Conversational Quality Audit Reports to Supervisors

The Conversational Quality Manager distributes the personalized reports to the contact center supervisors. This supports the important accountability system that is so critical to continuous quality improvement.

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It’s not enough to hire people and trust them to consistently relate well with donors. Let’s face it, saying the same things to numerous people each day, and being turned down by a large percentage of them, can be demotivating. It can turn a very important job into a routine.

What gets measured gets done. Everything else is optional. Your people will respect what you inspect. A blood center that raises conversation quality to the highest level of importance will have tele-recruiters who gauge success by quality interactions. Without this, tele-recruiters tend to feel they’ve done good jobs just by churning the front-end numbers.

High-quality conversations benefit everyone. They strengthen your blood center’s relationships with its donors and are more fulfilling to your representatives.

Implementing the following steps will establish a culture of conversational quality in your call center and strengthen relationships with your donors:

  1. Change your language
  2. Define Quality Standards
  3. Connect Quality Standards to employment policies
  4. Appoint a dedicated Conversational Quality Manager
  5. Audit tele-recruiting conversations
  6. Grade tele-recruiting conversations
  7. Generate a personalized conversational quality audit report for each tele-recruiter
  8. Distribute conversational quality audit reports to supervisors
  9. Task supervisors with discussing audit reports with tele-recruiters

Stay tuned for our next post describing each of the above methods!

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As the holidays approach everyone is getting ready to decorate their homes, preparing their shopping lists, and planning their trips to visit family out of town. At this time of year, the community doesn’t realize how much their local blood centers could really use their support with blood donations.

Did you know that every two seconds someone in the United States is in need of blood? This means that the need for blood is always present. And during the holidays blood is needed even more frequently for a couple big reasons.

Reason #1: Local high schools and colleges are typically on holiday break.

Most of the blood that is collected comes from local high schools and colleges where students attend the blood drives scheduled at their campus. Typically around this time of year, students are on holiday breaks, making it a little bit more difficult for blood centers to keep their blood supplies at safe levels. This is when the blood centers depend on the community to keep their shelves stocked. Now this is only one reason as to why blood is needed most during the holidays. There are several other situations that affect blood centers all around the United States during the holidays.

Reason #2: Traveling increases and so do accidents.

Around this time of year, there are also tons of people taking trips to spend the holidays with their loved ones. This makes blood donors unavailable to donate for a certain amount of time depending on how long they will be away. It can be difficult finding time to do anything after traveling for a long period of time, with having to get settled back into normal routines and knowing how our schedules will look. However, the need for blood never ends, and this is why people should make time to pause, relax, and take an hour of their valuable time to help save up to three lives during the holidays.

As holiday traveling increases so do accidents. A single accident victim can use up to 100 units of blood, which is a significant amount of blood to substitute. Once again this raises the need for blood donations during the holidays.

This holiday season, give a gift that can help save a life. With schools being out and traveling on the rise, this time of the year increases the need for blood tremendously. So again, be a hero and take an hour to help your local blood center keep their blood supply at a safe level. Most of all, help save some lives!

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